The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey
Summary:Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class.
When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite. But they don't laugh.
Melanie is a very special girl.
The truth is the truth, the only prize worth having. If you deny it, you’re only showing that you’re unworthy of it.
This is one of the most unique and original books I’ve read this year; not to mention it really will make you think for hours after you put it down. M.R. Carey has written something that defies expectations and genre predispositions and goes into a world of its own.
This is a book where it will really benefit you if you go in blind; and thus everything in this review will be a bit vague, but I can promise you that the vagueness here will pay off if you decide to read this.
What I can tell you is that this book follows a little girl named Melanie. Every night, Melanie is locked into a cell to sleep. In the morning, two men strap her into a wheelchair, while the third holds her at gunpoint while they transport her to class. Melanie doesn’t understand why this happens to her, but she knows one thing: these men don’t like her. Melanie is a very special girl.
This is one of the most unique books I’ve ever read. It’s not your typical zombie book à la World War Z (the action scenes and bloodbaths here are few and far between); nor is it like any post-apocalyptic tale you’ve ever read. It’s a combination of those two genres – with a dash of science fiction to go along with it. It’s an absolutely creative combination, and Carey executes it wonderfully.
Character-wise, I found Carey’s novel to be wonderful. The diversity of the characters and the distinct personalities they have is captivating, and you’ll learn to love each and every one of these characters.
As a protagonist, Melanie is absolutely fabulous. She’s not a special snowflake or someone who necessarily stands out in life; she’s someone ordinary, normal, that you can really connect to. She’s a determined and intelligent young lady, and her loyalty to those she loves really is admirable.
The side characters don’t falter either. From the kind and sensitive Miss Justineau – Melanie’s teacher – and the brilliant bond they have; to Sergeant Parks and his leadership; to Caroline Cadwell and her obsession with finding a cure, they all stand out at you.
One of the best things about this book, however, is that it makes you think. Few books are able to make you really question things and creep into your mind days after you’ve finished them. The Girl with All the Gifts is one of those books. It makes you wonder how far we’d go to save humanity. Is it worth it to kill a few people if it means saving humanity in the end? When does research become too extensive? Carey really makes you think about this, and it really makes The Girl with All the Gifts stand out from other novels with zombies that simply have action and no substance.
My only minor criticism is that I believed the first half of the novel was a bit better than the second half.
The hype about The Girl with All the Gifts has been large, and I believe it lives up to it. If you enjoy books that make you philosophize about certain topics or like zombie novels with little action, this is definitely something I would give a recommendation to pick up.